Sunday, December 10, 2017

Clickbait cuties: Cheerleaders and athletes

Someday if someone is researching the history of clickbait, I hope they stumble on my website as a resource. I’ve documented a range of practices used by clickbait purveyors.
One of the most common tactics is the use of pretty young women, because sex sells. As long as men have sex drives, they’ll be interested in looking at attractive ladies.
What follows are some recent examples of clickbait creators using cheerleaders and beautiful athletes to promote their articles and pictorials.

This clickbait article used a photo of a Houston Texans cheerleader striking a sexy pose.


Tennessee Titans cheerleaders shake their stuff at a game in October 2016.



Taboola used a photo of a cheerleader from Iowa State University for its article titled “Which college from Virginia is the hardest to get into.” Someone needs a geography lesson.

 

An Outbrain article used a photo of Finnish swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen, now Emilia Bottas.



A clickbait article titled “Former athletic sensation is now unrecognizable” uses photos of Paraguayan model, actress and former athlete Leryn Franco.




Another clickbait article used the exact same headline with photos of Australian hurdler and model Michelle Jenneke.


Clickbait favorite Allison Stokke

Clickbait purveyors love to use photos of little-known female beauties to entice men to click on their articles.
Often these are Instagram hotties like Anastasia Kvitko, Anna Nystrom and Jean Watts or historical hotties like Brigitte Bardot.
Lately their go-to gal for sexy pictorials is fitness model Allison Stokke.
What follows is a sample of some of the clickbait articles featuring Stokke that I’ve seen recently.
















Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lying clickbait: Sloppy mistakes or deliberate errors?

Sometimes with erroneous clickbait I wonder if the people who created it are just being sloppy and grabbing the wrong photo or are being intentionally misleading. I tend to think it’s the latter.
Creators of clickbait like to exploit the curiosity gap by using a photo that doesn’t match the headline or article. It’s a way to trick people to click on an article.
What follows are some recent examples.

A Taboola sponsored article titled “Guy on Twitter just noticed this in the movie Forrest Gump and now everyone can’t unsee it!” used a photo of actress Jennifer Grey from “Dirty Dancing” (1987).



Another Taboola article titled “GOT actors who look way different in real life” used a photo of actress Evangeline Lilly. Lilly was never in “Game of Thrones,” known as GOT to fans.



An Outbrain sponsored article titled “Unforgettable sports moments caught on camera” inexplicably used a photo of Instagram model and aspiring singer Claire Abbott.
Last March, I noted that Abbott’s pictures were used to promote a clickbait article titled “Photos from jaw-dropping actresses from the past!
Abbott is neither an athlete nor an actress, but she is a popular subject of clickbait articles. A recent Taboola article titled “Meet the girl who broke the internet with one photo” used a picture of Abbott.





Finally, a clickbait post on Yahoo titled “Wondered why Anna Kournikova never got married?” used three photos: two of Kournikova and one of Maria Sharapova. Both are attractive Russian tennis players, but Sharapova was much better at the sport.



 Anna Kournikova

Maria Sharapova

Friday, December 8, 2017

First step to combat fake news: End lying clickbait

If websites are serious about combating fake news, they should dump content sharing services that mislead users.
They need to hold content promotion services like Taboola, Outbrain and Revcontent accountable for carrying lying clickbait. Such clickbait articles use fake photos, false or misleading headlines and other dishonest tricks to get web surfers to click on their articles.
Recently two major news sites that I visit have stopped using Taboola sponsored links in favor of financial services ad platform Dianomi, a more credible service.
Taboola, Outbrain and Revcontent need to do a better job policing the content they carry. If they don’t they should suffer lost business. Plain and simple.
Lying clickbait adds to the internet stew of fake information, which is also being spread by social media.
Need some fresh examples of the kind of lying clickbait they run? Check out the latest samples below.

Taboola ran a photo of a naked female hitchhiker with a post headlined “Captivating photos from Woodstock you have to see to believe.” But it’s not from Woodstock, it’s from an advertisement for Landlubber clothes.
This one has been kicking around for a while with Woodstock pictorials. See the HoaxEye article “Pictures of Woodstock festival that aren’t.”


Revcontent ran an article titled “28 unauthorized photos of life in North Korea” using a photo from a Chinese TV series called “Special Forces Fire Phoenix.” It’s a fictional show about a female special forces unit that was criticized for being too sexy by the People’s Liberation Army military newspaper.
Photos from this series have been used to promote other supposed North Korea pictorials. See my earlier post titled “Lying clickbait: Close-but-no-cigar edition.”
For more on the show “Special Forces Fire Phoenix,” check out these articles by the Beijing News and DramaFever.



Outbrain ran a fake photo of a giant squid washed up on the beach for an article titled “Meet the most gigantic beasts on the planet. 36 images.”
The image is a composite of pictures of a much smaller dead squid and of people looking at a beached whale.
See articles by Snopes.com and WafflesAtNoon.





A clickbait article on Yahoo, which doesn’t identify its content promotion services, used a Photoshopped picture of a giant snake swimming past a family crossing flood waters. It used the phony picture to promote an article titled “15 huge animals you won’t believe actually exist.”
A photo of the snake without the family can be found online.



Revcontent promoted an article titled “Celebs who died and no one said a word” using photos of the very much alive actress Sara Gilbert. It paired her picture with the photo of a homeless woman named Pixie, implying that they are the same person. The photo of Pixie is by Megan Arroyo.


Purveyors of lying clickbait often use pictures of living celebrities with articles about dead celebrities to exploit the curiosity gap.
Below are clickbait articles that imply that actress Sally Field and game show host Vanna White have died.



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